Pedro Pablo Díaz, president of Chileprunes, says that in the face of the decline in the Russian market, due to the war, Eastern Europe emerges as an alternative market.

The international markets for food products have been shaken in 2022 by rising prices in the logistics chain, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and inflation that responds to multifactorial factors. All of the above has not been the exception for prunes from Chile, a country that in recent years has been the main global exporter of this fruit.

Indeed, in the first half of this year, shipments of prunes to about 70 countries in the world totaled 19 million tons, equivalent to almost US$75 million.

However, one of the most complex aspects of the year has been the high cost of the logistics chain, which impacts the margins of the industry, to a lesser extent for prunes and, to a greater extent, for fresh plums, which It is mainly intended for China, a country that is still intensely experiencing the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All of the above means that “shipments must be handled well in advance, around 45 to 60 days, and at very high costs, something that is certainly not unique to this industry. They are willing to pay higher prices in logistics, there is not much desire to speculate,” says Pedro Pablo Díaz, president of the Chilean Association of Processors and Exporters of Prunes, Chileprunes.

Faced with the high cost of global logistics, he points out, offering products to closer markets has been a good option for exporters, and where Latin America – led by Mexico – has turned out to be a very good market. Brazil also appears as one of the 10 main markets for Chile.

On the other hand, Russia, which was the main destination for Chilean shipments a few years ago, is now supplying prunes almost exclusively from Serbia during the war period. Faced with this, for Chilean prunes, part of what was destined for that country is now redirected to an alternative region such as Eastern Europe, with Poland being a very good market.

Another item to highlight from the period is that China has been gaining “substantial strength,” says the executive, as an importer of Chilean prunes, and not just fresh ones.


Raw material

The world production of prunes continues with a slight downward trend. In California, the cultivated surface of prunes has decreased for different reasons, generating a production equivalent to about 68 thousand metric tons, “production figures that are here to stay,” says Pedro Pablo Díaz.

In addition, last season there were lower world stocks due to production losses in Chile, France and Argentina -due to damage caused by nature-, and which influenced an increase in international prices.

In Chile, the new cycle appears auspicious. In the orchards, there have been no significant frosts, good buds and blooms are seen in the south, while in the central zone – Metropolitan Region there is a little delay, but there have been enough hours of cold and adequate amounts of falling water. “In terms of production, I am optimistic, although obviously we must wait for the results of September and that there will not be a significant frost in the remaining days,” adds the executive.

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